Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best variety of bee for our area?
A: Carniolans, Russian crosses and Varroa Sensitive Hygenic VSH strains are popular in this area. We have several members who raise local survivor stock queens every year which seem well adapted to this environment also.
Q: I only have one hive and I don't want to buy a lot of extraction equipment. Does the club have an extractor I can borrow or rent?
A: We have purchased an extractor as a club, and it is available for members to borrow. The club also has other equipment such as a decapping heatgun, knife, filters, and decapping tank to borrow. If you only have one colony consider using the crush and strain method. Almost everybody has the proper equipment for this method in their kitchens.
Q: Is the Africanized Honeybee here in this area?
A: Only Clark county in Nevada has reported this type of bee as of 2019 indicated by the NDA Africanized Bee Quarantine Map . One of the benefits of our location is cold long winters which Africanized bees do not tolerate.
Q: How do I get started in beekeeping? A: First, read up on the subject and ask yourself what is your reason to get bees. There are normally 4 reasons people get bees, for business, pollination, honey, environmental stewardship, and any combination of these. Second, come to a meeting and get advice from an experienced beekeeper, Third, relax, join the mentor/mentee program, get some bees and have fun!
Q: Where can I get bees? A: The NNBA has a group purchase of 3lb packages every year, simply prepay and wait for delivery, catch a swarm, buy a colony or nuc. Be cautious of purchases off of Craigslist, many are old queens, substandard equipment and some have disease. Some other package sources include Mann Lake, Noble Apiaries, BZ bees John Foster, Olivarez Bees, and Koehnen Bees.
Q: I have heard about Varroa Mites, are they as bad as everybody says? A: Yes, Varroa Destructor is the modern scourge of honeybees. This mite will destroy a colony without beekeeper intervention.
Q: I am moving to this area and would like to know how many colonies may I legally keep in Carson City, Sparks, or Reno? A: The latest information is Carson City and Sparks - 2 colonies, Reno City, Washoe, Douglas, Carson, Churchill and Lyon counties - there are no restrictions with a HUGE caveat. If, a neighbor or landlord thinks they are a nuisance for any reason, and there are plenty of reasons, you will more than likely lose and the bees will have to be relocated. So, if you think there might be a problem, it is best to not broadcast your bees location, provide them with water and the “out of site out of mind” suggestion is very valid.
Q: I see “organic honey” for sale at various locations, is there such a thing? A: Organic honey is a marketing ploy to increase the perceived added value to honey. There is no way a beekeeper knows where those bees are flying to and from and where they are drinking. Bees tend to prefer mineralized water, dog, cat or livestock water containers, pond/gutter water and especially chorinated pool water. In summer a normal sized colony will spray/deposit about a half gallon of water inside the colony to cool it down and make bee bread to feed the colony. That my friends, is not the definition of an organic environment by a long shot!
Q: I see many honey or wax products labeled “local” - what is the definition of local? A: The definition of local by the USDA is 400 miles. Your local honey could be coming from as far away as 400 miles as the bee flies and still meet the label requirements.
Q: I have heard of adulterated honey is that a problem? A: Netflix has a special program to address this concern called “Rotten - Lawyers Guns and Honey” the only way to describe it is, shocking!
Q: Is my area good for honeybees? A: Bees need three things to do well here in Northern Nevada, 1st, is various nectar, pollen and water sources - basically food and water, 2nd, a safe dry warm house, 3rd, some type of mite treatment plan. If your area provides months of various nectar and pollen producing plants with water nearby, and you protect them from predators such as bears and mites, they will thrive.